TuffShop Woodlesford: Workwear hypermarket opens in Leeds as owner grows business from one-bed apartment
Now a major player in the workwear industry, Tim Banks started TuffShop from a modest one-bedroom apartment above a drugstore after being laid off 10 years ago.
Spotting a growing market for quality work clothes, Tim would buy inventory from wholesalers, then roam around town doing embroidery.
“I got tired of working in companies where I couldn’t make decisions,” Tim, of Rothwell, told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“I only wanted to start the business small and I certainly didn’t expect it to be where it is now. I just wanted enough money to support my family, then it grew and grew and I couldn’t tame the monster! “
TuffShop is now a one-stop shop for personalized workwear, offering everything from high-visibility clothing and safety gear to sportswear and footwear for all industries.
Tim and his team spent a year renovating an old cinema, bingo hall and billiard center on Aberford Road, most recently The Clown House children’s play center.
It is now home to the TuffShop department store, opened by Leeds rhino legend Jamie Peacock in September, as well as a production site that makes up to 40 items of clothing every 10 minutes.
“It took us long hours to get to where we are,” added Tim.
“There were a few upturned noses and a bit of skepticism at the start, but now that we’ve completely transformed it we’ve had a great response.
“It was important that we made it as chic as possible. It’s sober, but it still keeps our brand and our image behind it.
TuffShop is now one of Yorkshire’s largest workwear producers and the company has exceeded Tim’s expectations, he admits.
He attributes his success to the emphasis on personalized service and reliability, and he is keen to pass on his entrepreneurial spirit to his growing team.
The 43-year-old added: “I have a very different strategy with my staff than my bosses had with me, I let them make decisions and be wrong – if you’re right, you won’t learn. not .
“I give everyone a little bit of authority and I enjoy watching people grow, seeing them become good leaders themselves.
“I think our philosophy is what made it so successful. We won’t leave anything to chance – if someone needs something for Saturday, they get it. They won’t be disappointed.
“We are just trying to provide the best level of service that we expect. It wasn’t born out of our desire to be something big, we really want to help.
Tim recently hired four new staff and he hopes to land sales with even larger companies with increased production capacity.
He added, “We’re still a long way from the finished item, but I’m so proud of the guys and girls who work for me, we couldn’t have done it without them – or the loyal customers.
“There are so many local businesses that won’t use anyone else and it shows the true spirit of this community.
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